I am from Australia and I need to be able to access the internet (4G network) on my macbook pro laptop during a 30-day road trip across the USA.

I am a graphic designer and will need to do some work while travelling. I will need to upload and download a number of PDF files during that time, each file will be between 2mb and 10mb in size, up to a total of 10GB over the 30 days.

I have a USB modem that I use for travel within Australia, but I understand this device won't be compatible with the US network. I am prepared to purchase a US-compatible device. I also understand a prepaid data package would need to be purchased.

Can anyone help with some suggestions on the best way to set myself up? Are USB modems the best device to use in the US? Are there any alternatives to USB modems? Any recommendations on brands, wireless broadband companies, places to purchase these things, would be very much appreciated. Needs to be Mac-compatible.

Thanks so much :)

  • Are you not able to use the hotel's wifi or do they have to uploaded at a specific time of day during which you might be out & about? Most commercial campgrounds also have wifi if you are RVing or camping.
    – user13044
    Jan 29, 2016 at 2:20
  • Hi @Tom, thanks for the quick response. I'll be on the road most of the time so will need reliable internet during car travel (while my travel partner is driving of course!)
    – Lisa
    Jan 29, 2016 at 3:16
  • +1, great question. be sure to report back with your results. Also, pop by with questions on any of the US locales you are planning to visit.
    – Gayot Fow
    Jan 29, 2016 at 3:35
  • 1
    Don't count on getting 4G out in the bush! Maybe not even 3G. Jan 29, 2016 at 3:40
  • 1
    We will be travelling all over, stopping in Palm Springs, Austin, Nashville, New York and San Francisco. I am hoping that the time spent in the cities will provide good internet connection.
    – Lisa
    Jan 30, 2016 at 10:26

2 Answers 2


I can say you can use Verizon, they have mifi which you can use it anywhere. You can get a prepaid one at the store. Here is a link of the options http://www.verizonwireless.com/internet-devices/

Also , I know you stated that you will be driving, depending on where you are you have to be sure you will have service as there are many dead zones.

There is plenty of wifi available to the public all over the US, so you might get some free service when you make stops. Places like Panera which is a small coffee shop let you sit and do work. Starbucks and so many other places. I would recommend though if you are in a public wifi to have some kind of vpn service that help you protect your information, never know when being in public area someone might try to steal your information.

  • Thanks @Lily, I'll look into the Verizon options. And you're right, there will be lots of dead zones while driving and I won't need internet access 24/7 so wifi places will be great when we take stops. Thanks for the heads-up on Panera and Starbucks!
    – Lisa
    Jan 30, 2016 at 10:19

Consider buying a prepaid phone with 4G access that allows you to make a wireless hot-spot. If you have an iPad (or your Mac takes Sim cards), you can also buy a prepaid data plan (and again make a wireless hotspot on the iPad)

Multiple providers should offer that (and you get basically free US-phone calls as a bonus)

  • Thanks @Aganju, I will definitely consider this option as I am buying a new iPhone soon. I think this might be much better than any kind of USB modem actually.
    – Lisa
    Jan 30, 2016 at 10:15
  • iPhones are cheaper in the US; if you buy it unlocked (in the Apple store), it will work back home too.
    – Aganju
    Jan 30, 2016 at 14:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .